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Project information

Unicorn Theatre: The Big Reach

We’re extending our reach by creating more theatre opportunities for young people. We’re putting on more productions, offering more subsidised tickets, extending our learning and participation work in schools and continue to develop our ground-breaking work for children with disabilities.

September 2012 - August 2013

Charity information: Unicorn Theatre

Unicorn Theatre logo
  • Need


    This project concentrates on two main areas: broadening our appeal to audiences who present a particular challenge for us and supporting those who face challenges when making a visit to the theatre. We’re supporting teachers facing budgetary and timetable restrictions to facilitate trips, programming work with a specific focus ages 14+ and extending our access programme to include SEN schools and those children outside the autistic spectrum who need support with theatre visits.


    Our newly extended artistic programme offers regular productions for all age ranges. Our extensive access provision is committed to introducing new initiatives including relaxed performances and in-house audio description training to aid inclusion. Our schools brochure covers the whole of the academic year to help with classroom planning and we run Continuing Professional Development (CPD) days to enable teachers utilise our comprehensive on-line resources to support theatre visits.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Ongoing engagement of young people aged 2-21 and significant growth in audience numbers.


    » Substantially increase number of Unicorn produced productions across the year.
    » Continue to provide top-quality productions for our core pre-school and primary school age range and programme more productions for secondary school
    » Develop new work for a teenage and young adult audience.

    What success will look like

    Success will be evaluated through analysis of box office reports to assess growth in audience attendance, increase in school visits and extension of age range up to 21.

    Aim 2

    Build on existing primary school relationships and develop new secondary school relationships.


    » Offer a dedicated service to schools and community groups through our new Schools Relationship Manager.
    » Encourage more visits by secondary schools through an extension of our artistic programme.
    » Early Bird offers to schools booking two or more shows with substantial discounts and free CPD’s.

    What success will look like

    Success will be demonstrated by a growth in repeat visits by schools and an increase in advance bookings.

    Aim 3

    Help teachers plan regular visits and access on-line resources to support classroom activities.


    » Publish schools brochure covering the whole academic year to be sent to schools in preceding summer term.
    » Provide on-line resources to support all Unicorn produced productions to inspire use of drama in the classroom.
    » Programme regular teacher CPD sessions, offering practical and accessible advice on linking productions to the national curriculum.

    What success will look like

    Success will be doubling the number of teachers involved in our CPD sessions forms with positive results reported via teachers’ focus groups and classroom observations.

    Aim 4

    Continue to pioneer new ways of making theatre accessible and inclusive.


    » Development of relationships with at least one SEN schools in every London borough.
    » Introduction of relaxed performances to replace autism friendly to broaden appeal and attract audiences who might feel excluded.

    What success will look like

    Success will be shown in the reflection of a broader cross-section of audience members attending our relaxed performances.

  • Impact


    A growth in box office figures from 47,000 in 2011-12 to a target of 60,000 in 2012-13, which will be demonstrated in our box office reports.

    An increase in advance and repeat schools bookings shown in our box office reports.

    Encouraging more and more teachers to utlilise on-line resources assessed through our website monitoring.

    A reflection of a broader cross-section of audience for our increased access provision, shown through anecdotal and written feedback and box office figures.


    In the event that we do not raise enough funds to cover the costs of all planned projects, we are also exploring other funding options. We have already identified and are talking to a number of potential partners who specialise in some of these areas about working together to deliver these new initiatives.


    We will produce full evaluation reports to demonstrate outcomes in all areas of the project. This will include information collected from audience feedback, box office reports, stakeholder analysis, school booking statistics, website monitoring, teacher’s forums and classroom observations.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £40,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £3,000 Schools Marketing Producing annual schools brochure covering whole academic year
      £5,500 Schools Relationship Manager Contribution towards salary of dedicated staff member to liaise with primary and secondary schools
      £6,000 SEN Schools Project Building relationships with inclusion units in SEN schools in 33 London boroughs
      £7,500 Subsidised tickets Allocation of subsidised tickets to support disadvantaged schools.
      £8,000 Relaxed Performances Programming 4 performances across the year to cater to a broader cross-section of special needs.
      £2,000 CPD Days Scheduling a programme of CPD days for teachers to support all Unicorn produced productions.
      £6,000 On-line Resources Creating on-line resources with ideas for linking shows to the national curriculum.
      £2,000 Evaluation Commissioning a full evaluation of the project.
  • Background


    The Unicorn is based in More London, an exciting and developing area of commerce and culture, yet Southwark is one of the most deprived boroughs in London and the seventh most deprived in the UK. Over half the resident children live in poverty. In addition to our work with disabled children, we work with schools where eligibility for free school meals is well above average, as is the proportion of students whose first language is not English.


    • 3,300 primary and secondary schools (on schools mailing list)
    • 300 children a year (SEN Schools project)
    • 1,500 pupils (schools subsidised tickets)
    • 100 teachers (attending CPD days)
    • 600 audience members (attending 4 relaxed performances)

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Unicorn is the UK’s leading theatre for young audiences. Located since 2006 near London Bridge, the Unicorn has two theatres, four floors of public spaces and two rehearsal rooms dedicated to producing and presenting work for audiences aged 2 to 21. We are an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation receiving around £1m each year in subsidy, and with that money serve thousands of children and young people each year.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Purni Morell

    As Unicorn's Artistic Director, Purni is responsible for commissioning and realising our artistic programme.

    Ella Macfayden

    Ella is now in the role of Schools Relationship Manager and will be communicating with teachers to support theatre visits and teacher training.

    Kirsty Hoyle

    As Access Manager, Kirsty has developed our new SEN Schools project and has just piloted our first relaxed performance.

Something Very Far Away

Something Very Far Away

“Many thanks for all that you do to make the experience truly inclusive for children that have additional needs."

A. Kelly (parent of two children with visual impairment)